Wallabies not ruling out Petaia against All Blacks as Rennie gets his hands dirty in the Hunter

International
by Christy Doran

The Wallabies haven't given up hope that Jordan Petaia will take on the All Blacks next month in New Zealand.

Reports surfaced on Monday that Petaia was tipped to miss between three to six weeks with a grade two hip flexor injury suffered during the Queensland Reds' Super Rugby AU final loss to the Brumbies on Saturday.

The 20-year-old sensation didn't return from the sheds at half-time in Canberra, after he hurt his hip in the 31st minute as he set up the Reds' first try of the match.

From a standing start, Petaia sliced through the Brumbies' defence like a knife through butter but pulled up gingerly as he passed to Harry Wilson for the Reds' first try of the match.

Petaia stayed out on the field for the rest of the half but looked to be playing on one leg.

Post-match, Reds coach Brad Thorn played down the severity of the injury.

"I think he’ll be OK," Thorn said.

"I think he might have just twinged his hip. It just got too uncomfortable for him and we changed."

Petaia, who wore the No.13 jersey in Australia's quarter-final loss to England at last year's World Cup and is the clear favourite to wear the jersey again, arrived alongside his Reds teammates with the Wallabies on Monday afternoon in the Hunter Valley, where they are staying at the Crowne Plaza.

He didn't take part in Tuesday's on-field training session alongside the rest of the 44-man squad, but it's believed Wallabies officials remain optimistic he will be in the frame to play against the All Blacks in New Zealand in at least one of the two back to back Tests.

The Wallabies will play the All Blacks in back to back fixtures across the ditch on October 11 in Wellington and October 18 at Eden Park in Auckland, before returning to Australia to host The Rugby Championship.

It's the first time that new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has been able to bring his squad together in 2020.

While his assistant coaches Scott Wisemantel (attack) and Matt Taylor (defence) spent time with all the Super Rugby sides throughout 2020, Rennie wasn't able to do any coaching throughout the AU season because of the bubbles already in place because of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Rennie got his hands dirty and led the morning session.

It's understood the Wallabies are set to get flogged throughout the week, before crossing the ditch later in the week where they will then use their quarantine period in New Zealand to recover.

The Wallabies were up at 6am on Tuesday and are understood to be having two or three sessions a day.